Memories Of Video Games
A while back I wrote a post called ‘Games Are Real‘ in which I tried to explain that an experience can still hold value to us even if it wasn’t real. I recently came across a video on PBS Game/Show about how real our memories of playing games are. The video concludes that playing a game can create memories in the same way that dreams do, they might be fake, but recalling them may still invoke a real emotional response. When my friends and I talk about games we often speak as if we were actually there – ‘Remember the time I went and slayed that dragon?’ or I’ll use my avatar’s names as if they are real people.
I have had a fair few experiences that I continue to recall even to this day as if they were real events. One such game that has given me many memories is Tibia on an open PVP world. There was this one time that I got attacked within the bank – before they joined them with the depots – while I was still holding the amount of gold I needed for a promotion and had been saving for quite a while. I had to make a mad dash to a safe zone and only just made it in time. Then there was a massive explosion off the edge of the screen, later followed by the bodies of my attackers being dragged down the street; it left me feeling terrified, relieved and then elated. Another time – despite being the knight – I got cold feet after being hit by two dragons at once and so ran back up the stairs. I didn’t realize my friend who was relying on my protection had headed down so soon after I had and they weren’t able to make it out again. In fact that has happened a couple of times and the guilt I felt for it was pretty real. There’s a high death penalty in this game, a fact that I know all too well after accidentally wandering too far into the Plains of Havoc; I’d never been there before or knew where it was exactly; I expected it to look darker in all honesty.
While films have us watching as passive observers and books have us observing through the perspective of the narrator, games actually have us stepping right into the shoes of the character and taking control. There are many beautiful things already in the real world to be experienced, but I think there is something rather magical about how we’re able to extend the world we know to include our imagination too (as explained in the Extra Credits episode ‘The Magic Circle – How Games Transport Us to New Worlds.’